How to Find Good Freelance Writers to Craft Your Content

“Now Hiring.” Two little words with a big impact, especially in the field of content marketing.

For business owners, it means they recognize the need to create high-quality content to succeed in a digital marketplace. It also means they know their own skill sets, and strong writing isn’t one of them.

Writing is hard. It takes time to keep your company’s website fresh. It takes imagination to come up with new ideas to write about in your company’s weekly blog. It takes creativity to write a relevant newsletter to keep your customers in the loop. It takes passion to engage with your online audience on social media.

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” — Ernest Hemingway

Everyone’s a superhero these days, but let’s face it — you can’t do it all. Some business owners partner with a freelance writer or blogger to fulfill their content writing needs. Before you hire just any freelancer, there are some things you need to know to get the most for your money.

What Type of Freelancer Do You Need?

Do you only want someone to write your weekly or monthly blog, with a little input from you or another company exec? People who specialize as bloggers tend to focus their talents on this type of writing, but they may not understand (or care) about your company’s content strategy.

Content writers or content marketing professionals tend to put more skin in the game, and they help your company connect the dots with best keywords for SEO, an editorial calendar that keeps everyone consistent, and higher quality writing that truly captures your company’s tone and voice.

Do you prefer to write your own copy, but need someone to fact-check it or clean it up for spelling, grammar and flow? Or maybe a ghostwriter to capture your voice in a news article or e-book? Bonus: Find a content marketer with proven copyediting skills and a journalism background for powerful storytelling. Journalists can interview experts in your field or happy customers to include as quotes in your blog or to write compelling case studies or success stories to post on your business website.

Where to Find Good Freelancers

Finding good freelance writers you can trust and depend on to deliver the goods, however, may prove to be a difficult process. It’s like throwing a dart while blindfolded, and hoping you hit the bullseye.

If you’ve ever searched the online job sites for writers, you know how daunting a task it is to wade through the endless list of applicants. So many writers, waiting like vultures to pounce on a new kill, hungry for the challenge of a well-paid writing gig. Unfortunately, these online job boards feature writing jobs that pay pennies on the dollar, and you get what you pay for.

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”― Orson Scott

Same goes for the agencies and content mills you find online that promise to offer the best freelance writers in the market. You might get lucky and find a freelancer who’s a perfect fit for your company, but the odds are not in your favor.

Referrals work best, we think, when it comes to fulfilling content marketing and content writing needs. The age-old strategy of growing your business by word-of-mouth still works today and serves as the foundation for many successful companies. Asking friends, family and colleagues for referrals is free and easy, and you’ll often get a freelance writer or content marketing professional with a proven track record.

5 Traits of a Good Freelancer Writer

1. Deadlines matter, and they meet them.Writers eager to land a job will promise the world to a new client, but fail to deliver when it comes right down to it. Many of our current clients complain about past writers not meeting deadlines. Clearly communicate your expectations, and look for freelancers with long-term clients who keep coming back for more.

2. Good grammar, spelling and clean copy.Check out the freelancer’s website and previous work samples. The writing should be concise, clean and free of any sloppy editing errors. You don’t want to waste your time cleaning up or rewriting the copy once they submit it.

3. Powerful storytelling. Not all writers are the same. Sure, they may have the technical aspects down to a science, but can they tell a good story and grab your audience’s attention? Can they write compelling content? Look for journalists with a proven storytelling background.

“The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into a new land.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. Good communication. While this is key for any good relationship, it’s absolutely vital when partnering with a freelancer to create your company’s content. Can they match your company’s tone and voice? Can they easily translate the technical aspects of your company’s products or services? Look for writers with a diverse portfolio that shows they can break down any issue and explain it in an easy-to-read format.

5. Trust. Building trust requires accuracy, clarity and accountability. Your freelancer may be a powerful storyteller, a great communicator and a clean-copy generator who meets every deadline. But what happens when they post something with an egregious error that damages your company’s reputation? A good writer never wants to get it wrong, and they’ll do extensive research and provide references to make sure it’s right.

Producing consistent, quality content takes time, skill and training. Partner with the experienced content marketing journalists at Red Pen to take your company to the next level with better lead generation, more effective sales copy, and increased visibility online.

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